Wildlife and Tourism CS Najib Balala has unashamedly told his critics to go to hell amid growing pressure to resign over the death of ten rhinos last month in a calamitous relocation project.
The minister on Monday said he will not be intimated by side shows as he was appointed to head the Tourism docket by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“In my leadership, I decided that I am going to be right and not nice. On the issue of rhinos, I am going to stand with what is right. Nobody has appointed me; it is President Uhuru Kenyatta who appointed me, so they can go to hell. I can tell them that,” Balala said.
“He[President Uhuru] is the only one who has appointed me here and he knows I have the capacity to run the wildlife docket and nobody is going to intimidate me.”
Balala further claimed that his critics are on a plot to destroy the Kenya Wildlife Service so that they can take over and enrich themselves with donor funds.
“They want to destroy KWS so that they can take over the parks and start using emotions of international people to raise funds for their lifestyles that are not accountable.
“I will not allow that,” declared Balala.
Balala’s future was called into question after conservationist, Richard Leakey, revealed that the ministry had repeatedly been told that translocating the rhinos could kill them.
Leakey, who chaired the KWS board until its term of office expired in April, said that he and his colleagues had rejected a proposal to relocate the rhinos “three times over three years.”
“On each occasion the board noted that there was deep concern about the lack of vegetation in the sanctuary that could sustain rhino and also the real issue of available and safe water,” he said.
“The board directed that no translocation should occur unless these two matters were adequately addressed.”
The country’s most prominent conservationist also suggested that Balala’s ministry might have broken the law if it ordered the translocation, an operation that should only be authorised by the KWS board.
Leakey’s claims prompted an uproar on Twitter, with many Kenyans demanding that Balala step down for overseeing one of the greatest disasters in Kenyan conservation history.
On Monday, Kenyans on Twitter were at it once again, but this time they were more infuriated by Balala’s “Go to Hell” remarks.
Watch Balala’s comments below.
— Ahmed Mohamed (@Asmali77) July 30, 2018